Zero waste the easy way.

Review + Giveaway: Glory Boon - Rose - Vegan Mineral Lipstick

By: Ariana Palmieri
Everyone who knows me, knows I love roses. If I could, I'd probably grow my own rose garden (maybe in the future - right now I live in an apartment, so yeah, no space for that). Until then, I'll surround myself with rose-themed everything, including a Glory Boon lipstick in the shade "rose". In honor of my rose obsession, I've partnered up with Glory Boon to giveaway a second vegan mineral lipstick in "rose" (AKA, not the one I have). Want to enter the giveaway? See how to enter at the bottom of my review. It's an Instagram and national giveaway only (sorry international followers), but it's super easy to enter! Before you do though, check out my review of the lipstick below. It'll give you a better sense of what you'll be winning (and why you should be excited to enter the giveaway!). May the most rose-obsessed person win!

Vegan Mineral Lipstick in 'Rose'

Why you want it: This vegan, cruelty-free lipstick provides long-lasting, vibrant color that doesn't dry out lips (score!).

Its value: $8.99 (Just go to the link I provide, choose shade "rose", then add to cart).

My review: Funny story about this product: It was originally supposed to be in my Valentine's Day Giveaway (closed now, FYI). Unfortunately, it didn't arrive in time to be in it (I believe it got lost in the mail, even though Glory Boon used 2-day shipping). It did eventually come though, and when it did, I had two of them: One for me, one for the giveaway. Unfortunately, it was too late to include it in the Valentine's Day Giveaway soooo....I decided to create another, mini giveaway! That, and try it out for myself. Lets just say I was not disappointed: This lipstick glides on super smooth, doesn't dry out my lips, and provides a beautiful color. It certainly makes me feel like a rose too: It reminds me of the beautiful beach roses I see flourishing in the summer. It's the sort of color I'd pair with a neutral eye (nothing too bold, maybe just browns/nudes), because it's so vibrant on its own. It's certainly not subtle, so don't go expecting it to be just a lip tint. That said, it's no matte either. It's got a little bit of a sheerness to it, but that doesn't stop the color from popping. What I love most about it is that's both vegan, cruelty-free, and 100 percent natural. You have nothing to worry about with this lipstick: It's made out of only 6 ingredients (according to the packaging - if you're going by the website, it's 7, but all are still natural). The ingredients in this product are safe too: Titanium dioxide received a 1-3 score from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), mica and iron oxides received a 2, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and candellila wax received a 1. In EWG terms, low scores are good scores because it means the ingredient is a low hazard to humans. If you're wondering why titanium dioxide received a 1-3 (3-6 is considered a medium hazard), check it out here. Apparently titanium dioxide's hazard score depends on how it's being used: The hazard level is only a 3 when titanium dioxide is airborne or used in a product you inhale. Since you shouldn't be inhaling lipstick (meaning, breathing it in), you have nothing to worry about. Remember: I would never recommend using anything I didn't feel safe using on myself. Since I absolutely loved this lipstick, (and the ingredients are very low hazard), it would be stupid not to give away the other one I have. To see how to enter the giveaway, and possibly win, check out the details underneath the ingredients list!


Coconut oil, candellila wax, sweet almond oil, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, mica (on the website it also says there's avocado oil used to make these lipsticks, but it didn't say that on my product).
How to enter the giveaway

Look for this picture on my Instagram account!
So, want to win one of these gorgeous, all-natural lipsticks? Thought so. Just look for the picture above on my Instagram account! Please keep in mind this is a national, Instagram giveaway only. If you have an Instagram and live in the U.S., you're set to enter! If not, no worries, I'll be sure to have more giveaways on different social media sights soon (and also a few international ones). But for now, here's what you have to do:
1. Follow me (greenifyme) and Glory Boon on Instagram.
2. Like the giveaway picture on my account (it'll look like the picture above!).
3. Tag a friend in the comment section of the giveaway picture (tag as many as you want to increase chances of winning!).

That's it! Giveaway ends Friday, March 3rd, 9 P.M. Good luck! 

My Night at The Secret Garden Spa's "Bloomin' Beauty Inside and Out" Event

By: Ariana Palmieri
Confession: I've never had much luck curling my hair. The problem with it? My hair is actually quite thin, even though I have a lot of it. I'm not complaining, but my hair doesn't hold curls very well: They're usually gone in an hour or two. But not when I got my hair done at The Secret Garden Spa. During their event,"Bloomin' Beauty Inside and Out", on February 15th, event goers could get thermal hair curling, blowouts, and a facial peel at a discount! The eco-friendly spa hosted the event to celebrate the opening of their new glam lounge, located on their second floor. Vivian Pisano, owner of The Secret Garden Spa, is very earth-conscious, so she renovated the place with beautiful vintage furniture (some of which she refurbished herself). Not only did the entire second floor look stunning, but there were so many people getting all-natural spa treatments. Naturally, I had to join in the fun, so I got my hair thermally curled by one of their insanely talented hair stylists, Alyssa Locasto. And guess what? The curls lasted all night (mind you the event was from 6 - 8:30 p.m.). Suffice it to say, I was impressed.
Just look at those curls! So cute and loaded with volume.

But having long-lasting curls was far from the only impressive thing that night. I got to see the new lounge up close and personal! Located on the second floor of the spa, the new glam lounge has several different rooms: One for makeup application and hair styling, another for relaxing, and yet another for manicures and pedicures. The third room also leads to three other mini rooms: Vivian told me a lot of massage, body, and skincare treatments occur in those smaller rooms. That's definitely true, considering one of those mini rooms was occupied the entire night (people were getting their discounted facial peels done in there)! Overall, the whole area is pretty expansive: Looking at the building from the outside, you'd never guess there were so many floors and rooms in the spa! Want to see how glamorous this new lounge is? Check out the photos below!

"Bloomin' Beauty Inside and Out":
The Glam Lounge Reveal

Here's the part of the lounge where you do just that: lounge. It's where everyone just kind of took a breather, sat down, chatted, drank a few champagne cocktails, and ate some delicious finger food. 
Here's the room I got my hair curled in. Also, to the left, you can see the "makeup bar". The Secret Garden Spa offers a wide selection of Jane Iredale makeup, an all-natural brand known as the pioneer of mineral makeup. 
Over the course of the night, a lot of people came in here to get their hair styled, as well as consult with one of the makeup artists on sight, Dominique Scotto (in the photo above). Towards the end of the night, Dominique applied some Jane Iredale concealer to my face, just to test it out. Similar to me, Dominique doesn't like using foundation either. The concealer she applied felt very nice on my skin and super light! If you're curious, here's the one she used on me.
The Life of the Party: Who I Met
I love meeting new people, but not many share my passion for the environment. That wasn't the case here though: Everyone was very earth-conscious and healthy! I was very impressed with the level of depth these people had and the strives they were making to better the world. Want to meet them for yourself? I don't blame you.
Vivian Pisano 

Owner of The Secret Garden Spa, Vivian was the mastermind behind the entire event. Before this event, I met Vivian once before and truly admire her ethics. "Being eco-friendly was always a way of life for me," said Vivian, "my parents being from another culture...we grew up reusing and making everything from scratch, food, skin products, furniture." Her upbringing helped create the person she is today: A total earth-conscious person making amazing eco-friendly strides for the environment! She told me having children made her even more conscious about the environment, since she wants the world left for them to be at its best. That's why she decided to open up The Secret Garden Spa (it's literally the only eco-friendly salon on Staten Island). Considering her salon has denim insulation, no VOC paint, bamboo flooring and recycled furniture, I'd say she's doing a great job. Not to mention the salon made the switch to wind-powered electricity through their electric company! And one more amazing thing: She also has her own organic skincare and makeup line! "I started a line of organic skincare and makeup called Bloomin' Beauty with my husband, a pharmacist," said Vivian. The skincare products range from eye serums to rose facial mists and are all created with natural ingredients. The makeup is too, and she offers a wide range of products in that line as well, such as lipstick, lipgloss, and foundation. It's only available for purchase at The Secret Garden Spa though, so definitely go there to check it out!
"My mission at the salon is be the best version of yourself inside and out," said Vivian. "We have seasonal staff meetings with a holistic nutritionist to educate them on proper nutrition for better choices. This helps with staff and client conversations being directed on inner beauty as well as outer." Vivian clearly cares about the health and wellbeing of not just the earth, but her clients as well. During the event, she was very attentive and made sure everyone was having a great time. From setting up the food and drink, to making sure everyone got what they ordered (blowouts, facial peels, etc.), Vivian was a busy bee! Still, she made sure to talk to everyone at the event. I noticed all the event goers seemed to have a great relationship with Vivian and were on a first name basis with her. I guess that has a lot to do with the fact Vivian doesn't run an average salon: She runs a sanctuary. "I really want to create an experience not just of vanity," said Vivian. And from the looks of all the happy faces that night, she's accomplishing her goal beautifully.
Bailey Frumen
Bailey Frumen, a therapist, author and speaker, was at the event too! She recently self-published book her own book called "Own Your Power," which I completely admire. As a writer, I truly appreciate all my fellow writers, and know the struggles, accomplishments, and rewards that come with it. Event goers had the opportunity to not only talk to Bailey, but also buy her book (usually $17, discounted to $12), and have her sign it too! Super cool, right? If you're interested in her book, be sure to check it out here. What makes it so unique is that it's also a workbook (you can write in it and actively apply the tips Bailey teaches you throughout the book). Awesome, right? Bailey has also written for Elephant Journal (one of my personal faves), Aspire Magazine, and even Huffington Post! To me, that's goals right there. She's written for a ton load of other publications too: You can view them all here. When she's not writing, she's probably coaching (or at an event - similar to this one). Bailey is renown for her coaching work: She works with women all the time to teach them how to finally gain freedom, fun, and clarity in their lives. She herself struggled with that at one point. According to her website, just a few years ago, she was working 3 jobs, 12-14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. Just take a moment to imagine that (makes me shudder just thinking about it). Obviously, Bailey felt very disconnected with herself. She was unhappy and even her sleeping schedule was affected (due to being stressed, fried and frustrated.) But the good news? She made a change, and now, she's as happy as can be. She worked less hours, focused on her own health, and found her passion. Now, she's ready to help other women to do the same. Her life goal is to help others accomplish their dreams and truly love themselves (I think that's just the sweetest thing). Truth is, she's literally just as sweet as she sounds. When I was talking to her at the event, she was nothing but compassionate, positive, and motivational. I usually don't trust any "life coaching" seminars, sessions, or courses, but if it's from Bailey, I'd highly recommend it. After meeting her in person and seeing she's as legitimate as can be, I'd definitely recommend her services. Want to learn more? Don't forget to check out her website for more information!
Drema Lindie

I also got to chat up Drema Lindie, a holistic health practitioner and yoga teacher, at the event. Drema is filled with so much knowledge, not only on yoga, but on what your body needs to be balanced. She teaches yoga classes at The Secret Garden Spa on Wednesdays (9:30 a.m.), Thursdays ( 5 p.m.), and Saturdays (9 a.m.). The classes on Wednesday and Saturday are very energetic and filled with an eclectic mix of "static poses, pranayam, contemplation, relaxation and meditation", according to her site.  She also just started teaching a teen yoga class for teens and young adults (in their 20s) on Thursdays (6:30 p.m.). This class is designed to de-stress the practitioners involved: It's made up of 50 percent yoga movement and 50 percent guided meditation and deep relaxation. Sounds nice to me! I could use some of that for sure. Each class costs only $12 (pretty sweet deal, huh?) and lasts for about an hour and 15 minutes (she said she usually goes a little over this time though). She also teaches at Wagner College (my old stomping ground!) from time to time. You can check out her full yoga teaching schedule here. And just in case you were wondering, Drema is more than qualified to teach these classes: Drema has been studying yoga and nutrition since 1997 (back when I was only 3! I'm 22 now, FYI). She also has private nutrition consultations at The Secret Garden Spa to help people with their individual nutritional needs. Each program she creates for her clients is as unique as the clients themselves. She can help find the root cause of any nutritional stress you might be having from the consultation and a series of investigations.  After she's learned enough about what your specific needs are, she will make suggestions, recommendations and come up with an individualized plan of action to support your body (and spirit). Your body may need dietary modification, and/or supplemental support: It all depends on the individual. If any of this interests you, feel free to check out her website for more information. Be sure to send her a text before heading to one of her yoga sessions though! She's quite popular, so her class might already be full.


 Cara Lanzi
 Cara Lanzi, owner of Simply Honest Kitchen and private chef, catered some finger food for the event (you can see what she brought in the picture below). Trust me when I say her food is delish. She's pretty inspirational too, and just by talking to her, I knew she was a rarity. She's the owner of Staten Island's first sustainable catering and private chef service (aka Simply Honest Kitchen). Think about that. What a pioneer! When I asked her what drove her to choose this occupation, she told me "there was a need for it." And I can't agree more. Staten Island isn't exactly known for its sustainable cooking (especially not vegan food). In fact, I don't think there's any vegan restaurants on Staten Island (though vegans could surely find all the supplies they need to make at-home meals on the island via a grocery store). That said, Cara's catering service, Simply Honest Kitchen, doesn't only serve vegan food: It caters to any diet whether it be vegetarian, gluten-free, or paleo. Simply Honest Kitchen only uses the best (organic, grass-fed, pastured, non-GMO, never processed, seasonal) ingredients for their clients. And trust me when I say, Cara knows what she's doing: She graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. So if you'd like to try out her services, make sure you check out her menus! She can cater anything from special events to office parties. She also offers private chef services which take care of your meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking based on your dietary needs.
 Cara Lanzi supplied these goodies for the event. Completely vegan and gluten-free, these chocolate chip chickpea cookie bites were to die for. I must have had, like, ten. It's safe to say these went fast.
Want to see more pictures?
Check out these pictures I took of the new glam lounge! If you'd like to see it for yourself, be sure to head over to The Secret Garden Spa, located at 702 Forest Ave., Staten Island, New York.
Pretty sweet huh? I was so impressed by how lovely everything looked. The warm lighting, mixed with deep purples. What a relaxing place to be!

Digging the vintage furniture and lighting.

Love this: "You should always feel pretty". That would be nice!

 Two event goers, Christina, left, and Vanessa enjoy a sit down. I spy a champagne cocktail in Christina's hand.
Here was just some of the finger foods offered: Crackers and strawberries. Later, more came (like cheese, grapes, etc).
One of my favorite shots. I took this while I was sitting down, about to get my hair curled!
 The decorations were on point. So stunning. And as  you can probably spy, there were some cookies on that table too.
How cute is that "Love" pillow? Also, that couch was really comfy to sit on. 
Vivian Pisano made sure there was no shortage of champagne cocktails at this party! She filled up one in this picture, but trust me, they were all full in a matter of minutes (and gone in seconds). She made the cocktails using organic tea (raspberry rose hibiscus - available for purchase in the salon) and champagne.

Such beautiful lighting right? Love the rose accent at the top.
The Secret Garden Spa also sells handmade jewelry from local crafters! How gorgeous are these pieces? Totally fits the vintage theme.
Thermal hair curling tool!

Me, having one of Vivian's hand-poured champagne cocktails. Yum! Hope you enjoyed these photos. Want to see the lounge for yourself? Schedule your next appointment at The Secret Garden Spa here, or call (718) 815-5900! Who knows, maybe I'll see you there!

Review: Miyabi Charcoal - Can it Really Filter Water?

By: Ariana Palmieri
For the longest time now, I've wanted a stainless steel water bottle. And guess what? I finally got one. The only problem? It doesn't come with a filter. To me, that's a big deal: I really believe every reusable water bottle should have a filter. Why? Because: Tap water is not always clean, despite being 'purified' by water treatment facilities. It can contain toxins like pesticides, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals, despite being 'treated'. That's where Miyabi Charcoal comes in: I found this genius company on Twitter and couldn't be more excited.
Miyabi Charcoal sells  bamboo charcoal, a natural, zero waste alternative to man-made filters. They can be added to any size container and used to purify the water inside it. Miyabi Charcoal sells two different kinds of bamboo charcoal too: Regular sized pieces (for pitchers) and skinny sized pieces (for small-mouthed containers - like my stainless steel water bottle). Depending on the amount of bamboo charcoal you get, just a few pieces can last you anywhere from 3 months to a year! The best part is when their time is up, you can plant them in your garden's soil (or in my case, my potted plant's soil) and they will decompose. They actually add valuable nutrients to the soil, so there's no waste left! Can't say the same for traditional filters (which are usually made from plastic).
Obviously, I was really intrigued with this product and wanted to know more. Did it really work? Would I finally be able to filter my water no matter where I was? Immediately, I reached out to the primary founder of Miyabi Charcoal, Ramona Bajema, to see if she'd be willing to let me try a few samples. To my delight, she said yes! Now, just so you know, I also did my research. Apparently, it's a scientific fact that charcoal has purifying properties: It's able to absorb toxins and impurities in a similar way a man-made filter can. In fact, it even replaces those impurities with good-for-you minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.
So if science says it works, I figured there was only one thing left to do: Try it for myself. Want to see what I thought? Keep reading.

The Basics
Believe it or not, there are many different brands that sell charcoal (as a water filter). However, Miyabi Charcoal is extra unique: It's made from bamboo charcoal. Bamboo charcoal has several health benefits: That's because it removes chemicals like chlorine, kills bacteria, and even alkalizes water. Bamboo charcoal is also great for the environment. After all, bamboo is a sustainable resource that grows quite fast. Miyabi works directly with bamboo charcoal producers from Japan who cut and split the bamboo by hand. When the bamboo is ready, they place it in a kiln and carbonized it at 800 degrees Celsius, turning it into charcoal. Once it's charcoal, it can then be used to filter water. But it doesn't stop there: Miyabi Charcoal is dedicated to being as wasteless as possible, so guess what? You can toss used bamboo into compost or gardens. It will actually give the soil nutrients and promote healthy plants. How cool is that? You can learn more about how bamboo charcoal is made in-detail here. If that's not impressive enough for you, think about this: Ramona sent me these bamboo charcoal samples in a recycled envelope. Her company is so zero-waste that she looks to reuse everything she possibly can. That, to me, really shows how earth-conscious Ramona, and her company, truly are. Every chance they get, they make sure that nothing is wasted. It's the perfect company for anyone living a zero-waste lifestyle (or attempting to - AKA me). It's also important to note that Miyabi Charcoal sends their product out in 100% recycled packaging all the time (not just to me).  
Skinny Filters 

Why you want it: This is perfect for those who have reusable water bottles without built-in-filters (like me), but it's also a great all-natural alternative to man-made filters.

Its value: $20-35 (depends on how long you want your supply to last - 3 months or 6 months)
My review: I received two different types of Miyabi Charcoal: 3 pieces of regular bamboo charcoal, and 4 pieces of skinny bamboo charcoal (pictured above). The regular set is for pitchers, while the skinny set is for cups/canteens (AKA my stainless steel water bottle). Each set will last me a month. Obviously, I was super excited to give the skinny bamboo charcoal a try. I wanted to see if they really worked so I could finally have tasty, filtered water wherever I went. I didn't want to worry about drinking unneeded chemicals along with my water. So, immediately I tested the skinny set out. The only problem was the instructions on the skinny set were the same as the regular set: Both said to add activated bamboo charcoal to one liter (4 cups) of water. Obviously, my stainless steel water bottle isn't one liter (it's more like 1 cup and a half). So, instead of following the instructions step by step, I adjusted them (just a tad bit). First, I rinsed off all 4 pieces of my skinny bamboo charcoal set. Then, I boiled them for 5 minutes (this activates the charcoal). It's important to note that I waited for the water to start boiling before I added the bamboo charcoal. Then, after taking them out of the boiling hot water, I let them dry on my windowsill (in the sun). This took a few minutes (probably 10, if I had to give an estimate). Then, I simply plopped them into my stainless steel water bottle and filled it up with tap water (instead of adding them to a liter of water). The first time I attempted this, I kind of did something silly. I let the water sit out for an hour - on my counter. I don't know why I did this. I was testing out the regular bamboo charcoal set at the same time and made the same mistake with that one too. Suffice it to say, when the hour was up, the water tasted warm and gross. I personally hate warm water, so I really don't know what possessed me to think this was a good idea. None the less, I repeated all the same steps again (minus re-boiling the charcoal, which only needs to be done once), this time letting it sit in the fridge for a full hour. Lets just say this method worked a lot better. I've been doing this several times too (I started using the bamboo charcoal on February 2nd after all, so it's been about a week). Sometimes I'll even let it sit overnight, or for several hours before I go out. Let me just say this: It tastes fantastic. Even better than Brita filter water. And I'll tell you why: Minerals. Minerals naturally diffuse from the bamboo charcoal and go into the water, making it taste so delicious and so crisp. I can just barely describe it. All I know is it's the best darn water I've ever tasted (and trust me, I've tasted many different kinds). Most people say water doesn't have a taste, but when you compare this to tap and Brita water, you taste the difference alright. Not only that, but my stainless steel water bottle no longer tastes funky after day-in day-out use. I guess that's because bamboo charcoal not only filters out toxins, but also kills bacteria too (and not the good kind, the bad). Also, I don't have to worry about re-activating the charcoal either: I just refill the reusable water bottle when it's empty and leave the charcoal in there. So easy. I'm definitely going to continue drinking this water, so I can happily recommend it to everyone I know.

Bamboo Charcoal (Yes, that's really it).


Regular Filters 
Why you want it: This is great for pitchers with no built-in filter systems and makes the water taste super crisp and refreshing!

Its value: $16 - $49 (depends on how long you want your supply to last - you can choose anywhere from 3 months to a year's supply).
My review: I received 3 pieces of regular bamboo charcoal, which will last me about a month. With that said, I was kind of clumsy and broke one of the pieces in the regular set (so now I only have 2 pieces). Regardless, I wasn't wasteful with it. I immediately put the broken piece into my potted plant's soil to enrich it. Miyabi Charcoal encourages costumers to do this when the bamboo charcoal is completely finished, as the charcoal will add nutrients to the soil. Cool right? That unfortunate accident aside, I still use the other 2 regular pieces. Following the directions, I rinsed the remaining 2 pieces of bamboo charcoal off and boiled them for 5 minutes. I left them to dry by the windowsill (in the sun), and then added them to one liter (4 cups) of water. I had filled up a pitcher to do this for the regular sized bamboo charcoal. Then, I let it stand in the fridge for an hour before taking my first sip. Upon my first try, I wasn't too impressed (probably because I let the water sit out instead of putting it in the fridge - silly me). I personally cannot stand lukewarm water, so I have no idea why I did this. However, I've tried it several more time since then and have been very impressed with the results. Sometimes I'll let it stand in the fridge for more than an hour: My favorite is when I leave it in overnight. The water tastes absolutely 100 percent pure. It tastes so crisp and delicious. I know this is going to sound weird, but I can actually taste the hint of minerals being emitted from the charcoal too. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised though: Charcoal not only absorbs pollutants but also releases over 300 types of micro-organic minerals essential to good health (score)! I'm sure the water would taste even better with the 3rd piece of charcoal in it (if I hadn't broken it), but the 2 pieces have been doing just fine for me. In fact, my whole family (my mom and my dad) love the water too! We now have a Brita Pitcher and a Bamboo Charcoal Pitcher in the fridge and I cannot believe how quickly everyone reaches for the Bamboo Charcoal one. In many ways, it makes the water taste better than the Brita! The coolest part is that I never need to re-activate the charcoal by re-boiling it either. Doing so would only sterilize the charcoal (which is not what you want). All I have to do is add more water to the pitcher (with the bamboo charcoal at the bottom) once the pitcher is empty. I'm going to be really sad once the month is up and the bamboo charcoal no longer purifies my water, but I certainly know where to get more!
Bamboo Charcoal (Yes, that's really it).
The (quick) rundown

The pros: The pros heavily outweigh the cons.
  1. I really loved communicating with Ramona Bajema, who gave me the samples in the first place. She was so friendly and accommodating: She was quick to answer I had any questions I had!
  2. I love how Ramona sent the bamboo charcoal in recycled packaging and a recycled envelope: She's truly an earth-conscious person, and that's so admirable to me.
  3. I haven't finished using all the products yet - each set should last about a month!
  4. I adore how it's only made from one ingredient - bamboo charcoal - which makes it all-natural and biodegradable (you can add it to your garden afterwards and it will add nutrients to the soil)!
  5. The instructions are easy to follow and are included right on the packaging and website (even if I had to adjust them a little for my reusable water bottle).
  6. Using this seriously minimizes the amount of waste I put into the environment (the packaging is completely recyclable too - it's made out of plants!).
  7. My family loved the bamboo charcoal just as much as I did, so it helped to get a second and third opinion on the overall taste of the water.
  8. There are so many health benefits to drinking this sort of mineral-infused water: It's cleansing and detoxifying to the body!
  9. This bamboo charcoal really works: It filters out all the bad (chemicals, bad bacteria, etc.) and tastes delicious doing it!

The cons: The cons are ridiculously low (and my own doing).
  1. The first time I used it, one of the pieces fell and broke (more my own fault for being clumsy, but the bamboo charcoal is very fragile).
  2. The first time I tried it, I didn't taste much of a difference. Granted, I left the water out on the counter where it got warm (and I hate warm water, so why on earth did I think that would work?).
Conclusion: I really recommend Miyabi Charcoal. If you already have an at-home filtration system, that's fine, but you seriously need this in your reusable water bottle. There are lots of eco-friendly reusable water bottles to choose from: I recommend getting a glass, aluminum, or stainless steel one. These often don't come with filters anyway, so you could easily add Miyabi Charcoal to them. It's a great investment and will (overall) cost way less than buying water bottles. After all, one 24-pack of Poland Spring bottled water usually costs around $15 and is good for only 24 uses. Buying a reusable water bottle is a one-time purchase only, and a 3-month supply of (skinny) Miyabi Charcoal is worth just $20. Think about that. $15 for 24 single-use water bottles, $20 for a 3 month-supply of Miyabi Charcoal. Only a $5 difference, and one will last you way longer than the other. Lets say you drank one bottle of that Poland Spring water per day: It would only last you 24 days, whereas one purchase from Miyabi Charcoal's 3 month supply would last approximately 90 days. So tell me: Which is the better deal? For the sake of your health (and your wallet), choose Miyabi. I certainly have.

This post was sponsored by Miyabi Charcoal. All thoughts remain honest and not influenced by a third party.

20 Ways to Have An Eco-Friendly Valentine's Day

By: Ariana Palmieri
Yes, I'm fully aware that February just started, but it's never too late to start planning for Valentine's Day! I'll admit I'm pretty biased (V-Day is one of my favorite holidays). That said, there's no reason why you can't make this Valentine's Day a green one (in spirit, not in color). And yes, even if you're single, this still applies to you. I mean, you can still celebrate V-day with your family and friends, you know? Here are some really simple, cute ways to make this romantic holiday as sweet for the earth as it is for your honey.


  1. Buy organic chocolate (look for the organic label - you can probably even find some in CVS or your local supermarket). Or better yet, make your own vegan, no-bake zero waste chocolate.
  2. Instead of buying a card, write a poem or handwritten letter on the back of a photograph of you and your partner (or your friend/family member!). They'll appreciate it a lot more and be less likely to throw it out.
  3. Get crafty and DIY your gifts: For women, try making her a sugar body scrub, lotion, or candles (Pinterest has tons of ideas). For men, try making one of these crafts.
  4. Make some delicious (and vegan) sweets and treats to help you and your lover stay healthy (and kind to the environment).
  5. Before you buy flowers from your florist, ask if they've been treated with pesticides.
  6. Spruce up your house with some super cute, DIY V-Day themed mason jars (or better yet, gift them to people!).
  7. Instead of giving her flowers, why not take her to flowers? In other words: Find a botanical garden close to you where all the plants are still alive, thriving, and beautiful!
  8. Can't go out to eat? Why not make your partner (or friends/family) a tasty dinner made using all organic ingredients? They'll be sure to taste the difference (bonus points if you use only-seasonal produce, too).
  9. Take a walk in the park together (what better way to admire nature than to spend time in it?).
  10. Wear all-natural, romantic makeup on the big day, like a bold red lip or a sultry smoky eye. You can make your own makeup if you're low on cash. Here's how to make lipstick and eye makeup
  11. Invest in a naturally scented perfume (that won't give you an allergic reaction). Try making your own plant perfume or solid perfume.
  12. Make your own rosewater and spritz it on yourself before your date, or use it to hydrate you face (it smells fantastic and embodies the essence of Valentine's Day).
  13. Find a restaurant to eat at that sources their food from local farms (I guarantee you the food will taste all the fresher).
  14. Make DIY rose bath bombs (cause why not?).
  15. Make zero waste hot cocoa for two (trust me, it tastes delicious).
  16. Make a healthy, homemade chocolate cake (here are a few recipes I recommend). Try putting a zero waste spin on them by getting all the ingredients in bulk!
  17. Buy vintage jewelry off Etsy, instead of new jewelry (vintage items are better for the environment because no new resources need to be wasted on creating them - they're already made!). Don't worry, there are lots of beautiful options to choose from.
  18. Do a fun, ecofriendly activity together that you can play music to, like cooking an organic meal or making seed bombs together.
  19. Go on a picnic together at a place you won't be disturbed (bonus points if you pack organic, homemade food).
  20. Go stargazing using a telescope or binoculars in a remote area (super romantic!).